On Tuesday, a rumor surfaced on Twitter that said beloved actor Daniel Radcliffe had contracted COVID-19, or coronavirus. According to Page Six, the 30-year-old actor spoke about the rumor, which was circulated by a fake BBC News Twitter account, saying that he was “flattered” to have been a victim of the hoax.
The Harry Potter actor spoke about the hoax in an interview with the Australian radio show “Smallzys Surgery” on Wednesday.
“I walked into the hair and makeup room on a play yesterday, and the makeup artist was like ‘my niece has just texted me and told me you’ve got corona.'” Radcliffe added that he was shocked after seeing the tweet. He noted that though it was a fake BBC News account, “enough people saw it.”
“That is the internet.”
The actor seemed to take the hoax in stride, making a joke about his appearance.
“I think it’s just because I look ill all the time, so you can believably say it about me,” the Miracle Workers actor said, adding that it was because his complexion is pale. The actor then said he was flattered to have been chosen.
The fake account, which had the handle @BBCNewsTonight, included the BBC News logo on their page. However, the account only had 125 followers and linked to a 2017 article from the publication. The account was suspended, but not before several high-profile journalists — including Politico editorial director Blake Hounshell — retweeted the fake tweet. Hounshell tweeted an apology later that day for sharing the tweet.
Many Twitter users spoke out against those who rushed to retweet the fake news, saying people should be cautious of “disinformation floating around.”
When asked about Radcliffe’s status after the tweet began circulating, his publicist confirmed that the actor did not have the respiratory illness.
Coronavirus has spread to over 114 countries. As of Wednesday, the World Health Organization has classified it as a pandemic, saying they were concerned about the steep increase in the number of cases and the way the virus was being handled by some world leaders. In the United States, three states have declared a state of emergency.
On Wednesday, beloved actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson shared that they both tested positive for the coronavirus, according to The New York Times. The actor released a statement, describing their symptoms and saying they were being tested and monitored. He said they planned to take everything one day at a time.